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Digital Signage and Mobile Cellular Communications

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Posted: January 26, 2008 at 4:27 pm   /   by   /   comments (3)

Digital Signage is starting to appear in many mobile applications such as Taxi’s, Buses, Trains, Trams, Cars or any moving unit to display information and advertising material to passengers. As we all know, in order to remotely update content to the digital signage players we generally have these connected to the Internet. For those of you who are not technically savvy you may be asking yourself “How do I connect the digital signage player to the Internet whilst the vehicle is moving?”.

With the advancement of technology, this is possible by using mobile communications technology such as 3G or 3.5G. Your mobile phone is probably using 3G. Basically, 3G is the third generation of mobile phone standards and technology. It uses cellular telephone networks which provide high-speed Internet access. For more information about the 3G technology visit wikipedia

In Australia, there are several Telecommunications companies (Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and Three) which are selling 3G modems. There are different types of 3G modem available on the market and you need to ensure you purchase a product that is compatible with your digital signage player.

In summary, the different types of 3G modems available in Australia are:

3G Broadband USB

These generally are very simple to configure and install. However, you will need a digital signage player that has a USB port and supports the proprietary software that comes with the modem (Windows OS).

Product examples:

Vodafone 3G USB modem Three 3G USB Optus 3G USB Telstra 3G USB

3G Broadband PCMCIA

These are mainly used in laptops which support PCMCIA cards or in 3G Broadband routers. Most digital signage players do not have PCMCIA slots so you wouldn’t generally purchase these unless you intend to use it in a 3G Broadband router.

Product examples:

Vodafone 3G PCMCIA Three 3G PCMCIA Optus 3G PCMCIA Telstra 3G PCMCIA

3G Broadband Routers

This is a special router which allows you to insert a 3G PCMICA card or a 3G sim card (same as a mobile sim card but is enabled with 3G) and share the Internet connection with multiple computers and laptops via a cable or wireless. With this device, multiple digital signage players are able to be connected to the Internet and if your digital signage player supports wireless (which most of them currently do), you will eliminate the need to install network cables and hence reduce the total cost of the digital signage project.

Product examples:

3G Routers Vodafone 3G router Optus 3G Router Telstra 3G Router

Depending on the digital signage solution, you will need to purchase the most suitable 3G product available and we suggest you keep the following points in mind:

  • a monthly subscription plan needs to be purchased along with the product. Just ensure you subscribe to a data plan that meets your content and data usage. Low data plans can generally end up being more expensive in the long run. So work out how much download (content) will be distributed to the digital signage players and then determine which data plan meets the your content requirements.
  • there are several telecommunication companies which offer free modems depending on which plan is purchased. Keep an eye out for these.
  • like with everything else you purchase, read the fine print.

Three is offering the following special, which includes a free usb modem:

3 Mobile Broadband

For more information about any of the above 3G products and broadband price plans, visit one of the following websites:

Now if you prefer to purchase an all-in-one digital signage product with a built in cellular network connection there is one company that I’m only aware of that supports this – Media Tile.

To discuss more about this technology or to introduce your business to the online digital signage community visit our forum here.


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Comments (3)

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  • April 17, 2011 at 3:27 pm lcd digital signage

    we also provide digital signage solution, hope there is chance for you and us to cooperation

  • April 23, 2010 at 1:41 am Stan Lem

    As I’ve got it, I could purchase 3G Broadband PCMCIA only with the intention to use it in a 3G Broadband router, and most digital signage players do not have PCMCIA slots, right? Worst is that my laptop does not support PCMCIA card, therewith.

  • October 8, 2008 at 10:48 pm DigitalSignageBlog

    Hi angelo,

    It is great to hear that you’re intending to start a mobile digital advertising business.

    Besides the fundamental digital signage equipment that you’ve mentioned, you will need to consider how you will be updating the content onto the computer (or digital signage player). If you intent to remotely manage and update content to these devices you will need to connect these devices to a cellular network – ie 3G, CDMA (basically connect them to the Internet). This will give you the option to also centrally manage and distribute the content to multiple box vans.

    There are many digital signage products and software in the market which will help you setup your digital signage solution. As a start, you may want to visit the digital signage portal products page ( for a list of products and software packages.

    By the way which country are you from? Are there any legal issues with displaying LCD screens in the box van – I’m assuming the vehicle will be stationary or the screens will be in locations where other drivers will not be distracted with the animiated content.

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